Home > Public Service, The Outsiders, Unions > Cutting Only 9% of Spending is “Explosive”? Guess it Depends on What You’re Cutting.

Cutting Only 9% of Spending is “Explosive”? Guess it Depends on What You’re Cutting.

Scott Walker is certainly making a name for himself over in Wisconsin.  The new governor previously dazzled with a plan to rein in the Democratic political machine public sector unions, and now he has proposed an “explosive” new plan to cut spending.  Wherein “explosive” is defined as a cut of only 9% out of a single category.  Talk about your shifting goalposts.

The problem is, Scott Walker has proposed cutting money from education.  $900 million to be exact, which sure sounds like a lot, until you realize that it represents only a small fraction of total spending, and that total spending is far too high anyway.  But predictably, the calls for “Cut Spending Now!” have turned into “Anything But That!”  A plan to cut a piddling 9% off of a single category in a state that expects budget deficits of $3.6 billion in the coming years is anything but explosive.  Unless it’s a sacred cow being slaughtered, I suppose.

Then again, it is worth noting how little effect education spending has had over the years.  In this almost-famous Cato Institute graph, we see that ridiculously massive growth in federal education spending has translated to stagnation and regression in student performance.  Granted, this is federal, and not state, spending, and education is an issue properly left to the states.  But it would be foolish to think that these data are wholly inapplicable based on who is writing the check.  Observe:

It appears as though our country’s public education strategy is “throw enough shit at the wall and some of it will stick.”  Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like anything is sticking.  If you dig deeper, you soon find out how the public education system is being used as a jobs program for the politically favored, with layer upon layer of useless administration drawing crazy salaries and unearned pensions.  (Is it any wonder it’s all unionized?)

In the end, I am not sure if this is one more power play by Scott Walker to dismantle the “New Tammany Hall” that is the organized public sector, but I do not care.  It is a move that makes fiscal sense, educational sense, and moral sense.

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